a warm and welcome place to share words and thoughts

Archive for October, 2012

When reading blogs becomes a full-time job, and why I had to go part-time

When I first started my blog and actually began to gather followers, I was so grateful, and I felt an obligation to follow each one of them in turn. And that was fine for a time, when the numbers were low. But things quickly spiraled out of control, and I found myself unable to keep up. Reading all the lovely blog posts started to take up much more time than I expected, and I found myself starting to resent having to read so much. How sad, because I love to read!

I tried spacing it out a bit, only reading a few here and there. But soon I found myself overwhelmed with so much in my inbox that I had times where I had to sweep it all away in a massive deleting. This broke my heart; callously clicking away others words without so much as a glance. So I decided that I needed to start being a bit more selective in the blogs I follow, so I could help my oversensitive self not panic by being inundated with so much information. Now that I follow a smaller number of blogs, I find I am relaxed and once more enjoying the world of blogging.

And as I look at the flip side of things, I notice that I actually have 77 followers now; yet if I’m lucky on a good day I might get 7 people who read and/or like my post. And that is perfectly fine, as I write for the joy of it, not the adoration. But I have to wonder if other bloggers have also amassed an unmanageable amount of blogs they follow. Like some kind of blogging fever that strikes when a blogger is fresh and new, excited and ready to take on all the wonderful offerings that are out there to read.

It all reminds me of days past, when people used to read magazines and actually subscribe to  them, having them sent to their homes. It used to be a common problem once upon a time; getting carried away with too many magazine subscriptions and never enough time to read them all. The solution for that problem was picking out only one or two that really merited interest and not renewing the rest.

Well now the same seems to hold true for the plethora of blogs available to read, and I find myself having to select a reasonable number that I can give quality time to reading. And as with all things in life, that is ever changing. As I un-follow some blogs, I find new ones that I want to follow – and I’m sure that the same is done with my blogs. Such is life, always full of change, and such is the reason that I am only a part-time reader of blogs.

Advertisements

It’s not always about the food

Every month I meet with four other women for lunch, at a previously chosen destination somewhere in Portland. We call ourselves the “library ladies”, due to the fact that we first met during the monthly book club at the Central Library. As we made small talk one day before the book club discussion started, we soon discovered that we were all transplants from other states. So in order to get to know our new city better, as well as get to know one another better, we decided to meet once a month for a lunchtime adventure.

This has gone on for about a year now, and it has been so much fun as we find new and interesting places around Portland, with a wide variety of all types of food. We have eaten everything from Vietnamese to Mexican to Chinese, and of course the regular fare of what would be considered American food. And the venues have varied from the simplicity of ordering food at the counter of a local taqueria and finding a place to sit, to lunching in some rather elegant places such as the more upscale hotel restaurants around town. And as much as we go to enjoy the different foods and atmosphere of different restaurants, I seem to find that our monthly get together is really more about friendship and not the food.

Our latest foray took us to the Portland City Grill, which is on the 30th floor of an office building in downtown Portland. I could feel my jaw drop in amazement as we were led to our table, in a dining room completely surrounded by windows. The view was spectacular! Luckily the restaurant wasn’t terribly busy at that time, so I was able to grab my camera and run around looking like a crazed tourist, trying to get the best picture of Portland I could without bothering too many people. The service was great, the ambiance lovely and relaxing, and the camaraderie between friends was delightful. And although the food was good, I wasn’t as wowed as I thought I might be, for the price that I payed. And the part that I just had to laugh at was dessert; I was expecting so much more. I ordered a lunch special that came with “Brandon’s Ultimate Dessert Selection”, and I was ready for my sweet tooth to be charmed. But I was more like shocked when the Ultimate Dessert came, in the guise of an eclair – that’s right, just a plain old eclair, like the kind you can get for a buck at just about any bakery. It tasted good, but not in an ultimate kind of way.

So I looked at our lunch date that day as more than just going out to eat. It was about getting a bit more dolled up than usual, sitting in a fancy schmancy place and just soaking it all in. It was about the breathtaking view of my beautiful Portland from high in the sky, and watching a red tailed hawk soar right past the window by our table. And most of all it was about spending precious time with friends. And no matter how overpriced and overrated I may think the food itself was, the time spent in friendship was worth every penny.

The view from our table at Portland City Grill

Memories of sunshine on a rainy day

After three glorious months of perpetual blue skies and sunshine, Portland now shows her winter colors of gray skies and silvery raindrops. But I finally received the package in the mail the other day, with the cds containing all the photographs from my daughter’s wedding. Perfect timing, and a rainy day project emerges as I sort through 700+ pictures taken on that special day.

Through a mother’s eyes they are all perfect pictures. How will I ever narrow it down to a reasonable number? It helped to have a pretty white photo album to place them in that only holds 100 pictures; that set some limits for me. The photo album was a very thoughtful gift from a friend, who knew I would appreciate a special album dedicated only to pictures from my daughter’s wedding. I thought of how small albums such as this as often called “brag books”, and during coffee with a friend this morning it became just that. I was giddy as we looked at the pictures together, pointing out family and friends to her, recalling memories from that lovely day.

And now I have a son-in-law, one who adores my daughter and treats her like a princess. As I looked through the many pictures, I could see so apparent the love they have for each other; the energy of their love radiating through the photographs. They will have their ups and downs, as all couples do. But I feel an intuitive sense of knowing that these two have a strong relationship made up of love, respect and sharing all things with each other. I’ve seen them together in the day to day events of life when I’ve stayed at their home, and they are going to be just fine. And a mother’s heart is reassured that her daughter’s heart is now in the gentle hands of a loving husband.

Ode to a Wedding

She walks down the aisle

Lovely and luminous

He waits to greet her

Glowing with love

They smile at each other

Heartfelt anticipation

Of words to be shared

In the presence of loved ones

The commitment of a lifetime

Once nestled deep in their hearts

Now bursts out in loving vows

As they shower onlookers with wedded bliss

The blushing and very happy bride

The wedding party

Saying their vows

The happy couple

Some time alone

So in love…

A proud and happy mom

Just in case she forgets the words

Having fun with the cake

The first dance as Mr. & Mrs.

Introducing… Mr. & Mrs. Workman!

A very tired flower girl

 

 

 

 

Acknowledging the good things in life

I’ll never understand why it seems to be human nature to find it easier to complain than to praise. Maybe that’s a bit of a poor generalization, maybe it’s just the crabby old person starting to come out in me. But you’ll have to agree that most of us are quick to jump all over a person or place that has dissatisfied us, yet we keep to ourselves any positive experiences we have. This best shows itself in the increasing multitude of lawsuits being  filed over any little thing, and the fact that malpractice insurance costs for physicians are starting to scare prospective medical students away.

So I try to retrain myself, to get out of the Pavlovian response of only letting my dissatisfaction show. Now I try to think of instances where I could share a kind word or two about something or someone who has made my day. After my trip to Chicago in 2009, I came home, remembering how enjoyable the whole experience was; from the person at the hotel who helped me when I needed a cab, to the friendly and informative people manning the Hop On, Hop Off trolley that took me all around town. So I sent words of thanks to these places and others, telling them what a great job they did. It felt good to share some joy, and I could almost feel the happiness in the recipients of my messages. Positive energy all around; much healthier than the other side of the coin.

And I must have rubbed this off on my daughter in some way, as she related to me a story about going on a frustrating search for just the right pair of jeans. Now granted, my daughter has literally a multitude of jeans in her closet, and her husband must have been shaking his head (lovingly, of course) as she set out to find a new pair or two for their upcoming honeymoon. She told me how she wandered through the mall, going to store after store, looking for flared leg jeans and not the skinny leg jeans that are so prevalent. Finally, at the last store she checked, there they were – tables and racks full of jeans with the perfect flared leg – she told me was a madwoman as she filled the fitting room with a mountain of jeans. Out of all this craziness she managed to find two pair that met her stringent guidelines. She went home a happy fashionista.

She told me that after she came home, full of the joy of a very successful shopping expedition, she was moved to write an e-mail to the company that saved her from a fashion meltdown. In doing this she hoped that the company will know how satisfying it was to have just what she was looking for, and how helpful the employees were.

Of course there are times when we need to go down the other road, to voice our complaints or to make known our unhappiness so that others may be spared. But let’s not forget how easy it is to go down the path of saying “wow, thanks for doing such a great job and making me happy”. It takes the same amount of energy to write words of praise as it does words of complaint, and I’d rather see more of that positive energy floating around in our world.

The gifts of perfect timing

I took a break from reading the 500 some page book club book about Teddy Roosevelt to check and see if the mail had arrived yet. As I walked into the foyer of my apartment building, I saw a large wooden desk sitting there with a yellow post-it note proclaiming “Free”. I have been keeping my eye out lately for a desk of some type, but it needed to be smaller than this one. I was anxious to replace the TV tray that I had been using as a combination desk to write at and kitchen table to eat at. Rick and James were in the office, the manager and assistant manager of my building, and I lamented to them how much I would have loved that desk but it was just too big for my studio apartment. One of them mentioned a smaller desk they had seen in the basement, in the corner where people leave “free stuff”;  things that are let go for one reason or another, usually because it is easier than trying to haul large and bulky items to the nearest Goodwill.

I found the adorable white wicker desk just sitting there in the corner, amongst a mattress, a broken entertainment center, a battered tool box and a box full of old clothes and shoes. I felt like I was at the humane society, picking out the perfect pet. Instead I had found the perfect desk! I ran up to the office, out of breath and proclaimed, “I’ll take it!” James graciously offered to bring it up to my apartment on the fourth floor; good thing he was there at the time or else I don’t know how I would have managed it on my own, and then I may have lost my chance to have such a great find – for free!

But wait, there’s more!

As I started to rearrange things in my home to accommodate my new piece of furniture, I heard a knock at the door. I answered it and there stood Rick with a lovely black office chair that looked as if no one had spent any time sitting in it. Another free gift! Rick must have been paying attention to me when I was rambling on about how I have the world’s most uncomfortable plastic folding chair that I bought only because I didn’t feel like driving all over to find something better and yeah I hate to complain but it really would be nice to have something a bit more comfortable and on and on. And now here he was, with the perfect chair to match my perfect desk – yes, what a perfect day!

After all was said and done, with my new desk in place and the drawers full of all the things I had previously kept on a kitchen shelf, I could see how perfect timing, what is called synchronicity, played a part in all of this. I had to come down to get my mail, just at the time that the desk was there, just at the time that Rick and James where there to tell me about a better desk and to hear about my sad chair story, just at the time that James was there to carry my treasure find to my apartment, just at the time that Rick thought to give me his old office chair. This is how the Universe lines up the dominoes of our life’s happenings, then gives them a joyful flick to fall into perfect succession – this is how it’s done!

As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as luck or fate or serendipity; there are no coincidences. We are all part of a much greater plan than we can imagine. And when we take the time to step back and stop trying to control everything, we might just find ourselves the recipients of perfect gifts that can only come from perfect timing.

From this….

…to this!!

 

 

Moonbathing

It’s pretty evident I love the moon; the name of my blog pretty much says it all. The latest full moon came into being a couple nights ago, and is slowly starting to wane. But its luminosity is still brilliant, as the moonlight gently streams through my skylight and into my home. I woke to this lovely energy at 2 a.m., as the shaft of a moonbeam settled upon my rocking chair. I graciously accepted the invitation to do a bit of moonbathing.  Slowly climbing out of bed, I nestled into my chair, allowing my body to rest in the glow of the moon. It is said that the moon is a feminine energy, and I felt motherly love and comfort as I let the sweet moonlight rock me in its cradle.

I sit in the chair

Moonbeam wrapped all around me

Bathed in lunar love

 

The other side of writing

Today I started my 24th journal, in four years time, and that works out to filling up a journal every two months – wow! I guess I have a lot to share with myself. The pages I fill contain so much – my thoughts and dreams, love and heartache, all that I am and all I am experiencing in this lifetime. In this way, journaling is a gift, a godsend, a way for my soul to spill out and for me to archive a permanent record of who I really am.

I often look back on all my lovely pages, inspired by how far I’ve come, or enlightened by words I’ve written but long since forgotten. My journals become a kind of self-help book written by me, for me – who better to help me through the ups and downs of life but my own unique soul? But I am also guided by words I find from others. I often write down inspirational quotes or phrases I find or hear, as well as decorating the pages with pictures or artwork that touch my heart. It is a joy to see and read the soul filled expressions of others.

My journals are a manner of creative expression as much as my other modes of writing are. Even though I fill the pages with haphazard writing – misspelled words, grammatical errors, run-on sentences – it is the free flowing expression of pure thought, not impeded by my logical side that stops me from saying what I long to say. There is much truth contained in those pages.

In the corner of the room, I see my lovely collection all lined up like soldiers at attention, but not wearing the same uniform; each one is unique on the outside as well as the inside. Some are covered with pretty pictures or artwork, and some I have decorated myself when the cost of a $10 journal was outside my budget. Those forays into art are some of my favorites – there is the one with the man in the moon picture I cut out and glued to the front of a $1 composition notebook, or the notebook I bought in the college bookstore one day and transformed into a journal by covering the front of it with inspirational quotes I love.

All of my precious journals contain the unique energy of me, a true self that I find cannot be fully revealed at times. Those are the times when the sanctity and security of my journal becomes a very dear confidant to me, allowing me to always be me.

My first journal, October 2008

One of my “homemade” journals

Tag Cloud